Chris O’Hare, Shannon Osika Win Hoka One One Long Island Mile Titles

Chris O'Hare at the 2017 Hoka One One Long Island Mile | Photo Credit: Hoka One One Long Island Mile, Twitter

The fourth annual Hoka One One Long Island Mile saw Chris O’Hare of Scotland successfully defend his title and the United States’ Shannon Osika capture her first victory in the Wednesday night race at Bay Shore Senior High School in New York.

Ford Palmer of the Hoka New Jersey-New York Track Club led the field through 400m in 58.8, the 800m in 1:58.6 and 1200m in 2:59.3 as pacemaker with O’Hare, Cristian Soratos of Charles Philibert-Thiboutot of Canada on his shoulder.

Philibert-Thiboutot charged to the front when Palmer stepped off the track, thereby earning the $500 bonus for leading at the bell, and the race became a two-man spectacle between the Canuck and O’Hare.

The defending champion put a full second on Philibert-Thiboutot over the final 300 meters to win the title in 3:55.53. The Canadian held on for runner-up honors in 3:56.62 and fellow Scot Neil Gourley took third in 3:57.20.

The men’s race, named The David Torrence Mile, is in honor of the meet record holder and two-time Long Island Mile champion, who died suddenly last summer just before the race. Meet organizers left lane one open in Torrence’s honor.

“I’m just glad to come out here and put on a good race in memory of David,” O’Hare said to David Monti of Race Results Weekly. “You know, you get choked up when they leave lane one open for him. I think all the racers today were standing on the start line with a lump in their throat.”

Ben Flanagan of Canada, who went viral with his “where’s my mom?” reaction to winning the NCAA 10K title, broke four minutes for the first time in 3:57.75, good for sixth place. Sam Parsons also recorded his first-ever sub-four with 3:59.70 in tenth place.

The women’s race saw Murphey Mile champion Osika take top honors in 4:29.91 over Rachel Schneider, who ran 4:30.18.

The 25-year-old Osika, who set a career-best 4:25 at the aforementioned race, patiently waited to strike during the early laps behind Helen Schlactenhaufen, who closely followed pacemaker Kenyetta Iyevbele through splits of 63.6 for 400m and 2:16.3 for 800m.

In the bell lap, Osika made her move with just enough room ahead of Schneider to hold her off. Reigning world steeplechase champion Emma Coburn was third in 4:31.08.

Eighteen of the athletes competing in Long Island will enter one final mile race of the season this Sunday: the New Balance Fifth Avenue Mile in Manhattan.

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